New Jersey has been one of the forerunners in passing online gambling legislation although it has come with some a fair share of vetoes and amendments before a bill was finally passed in 2013. The bill that brought online poker gambling to New Jersey was the New Jersey Poker Bill 2578 (Bill 2578). This bill made New Jersey the third state to offer online poker as well as other forms of internet gaming. Most beneficial to the casinos is that the bill allows existing casinos or other operators that have fulfilled the state-required criteria for online platforms to partner with an existing casino to offer online poker. Bill 2578 legalizes online poker and gambling for an initial period of ten years and then must be passed again in order to continue beyond ten years. Online gambling is also subject to a 15% tax rate that is sure to be a benefit to the state of New Jersey.
Where Can I Play Poker Online in New Jersey?
There are currently six main sites that offer online poker in New Jersey.
|Online Poker Room||Casino Partnerships||Legalization Date||Mobile App||Link to Law|
|Pokers Stars NJ||Resorts||2/26/13||Yes||NJ Online Poker Law|
|Pala Poker||Borgata||2/26/13||Yes||NJ Online Poker Law|
|Borgata Online Poker||Borgata||2/26/13||Yes||NJ Online Poker Law|
|888 Poker NJ||Caesars||2/26/13||Yes||NJ Online Poker Law|
|WSOP NJ||Caesars||2/26/13||Yes||NJ Online Poker Law|
|PartyPoker NJ||Borgata||2/26/13||Yes||NJ Online Poker Law|
|playMGM||Borgata||2/26/13||Yes||NJ Online Poker Law|
PokerStars is the leader in online poker in terms of revenue and internet traffic, although the fact that players can only play against other players physically in the state of New Jersey may change that soon. This is quite the turnaround for PokerStars after it was shut down back in April 2011 by the Department of Justice (DoJ). PokerStars settled with the DoJ for $731 million and ceased operation in the United States. Determined to re-enter the US online gambling market, PokerStars purchased Full Tilt Poker which was experiencing monetary and funding issues of their own and PokerStars was able to step in and ensure that the Full Tilt Poker players were paid on their winnings. PokerStars then ran into a couple issues once again when a failed partnership with the Atlantic Club Casino and denial of a gaming license delayed their emergence in the US gambling market. PokerStars had their license denied because their founder was still under federal indictment. Finally, PokerStars was able to begin operation in New Jersey in 2016.
Promotion Code: PokerStars now offer $30 in free play when you deposit $20 and will match 100% of your deposit up to $600 when you use “STARS600”
WSOP.com & 888poker
Perhaps best known for their coverage on ESPN and late night airings, the WSOP operates their own online poker site in NJ. WSOP is backed by Caesars Interactive Entertainment and is affiliated with Caesars Atlantic City. WSOP also has a sister-site called 888poker where players can enjoy all of the benefits of online poker in New Jersey. However, WSOP does have one colossal advantage currently over PokerStars—they are part of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Alliance that took effect in May 2018 that allows WSOP user to play against other players physically located outside of New Jersey, specifically in Nevada and Delaware. This also applies to 888poker. Although some users believe that WSOP has an outdated platform, the fact that players can play cash games with other players outside of the state may soon lead to WSOP being the far-and-away leader in online poker in New Jersey.
Promotion Codes: WSOP will automatically double your deposit 100% up to $600 when you make your first deposit. You can also enter into weekly free rolls where you will be placed in drawings for $100 after you make your first deposit of at least $10.
PartyPoker & Borgata
Recently partnering with Borgata Hotel and Casino (the highest grossing casino in Atlantic City), PartyPoker is attempting to restore its former glory as one of the leaders in online poker. Borgata Casino also operates their own online poker platform and allow users to have accounts on both sites so that they can take advantage of multiple promotional offers. Borgata and PartyPoker both share the same player pool that consists of players only within the state of New Jersey. Another unique aspect to PartyPoker and Borgata is the offering of multiple variants of poker including: Limit Hold ‘em, No Limit Hold ‘em, Pot Limit Omaha, and Seven Card Stud. They also have extremely mobile-friendly versions of their poker platforms that allows players to play away from their computers by using their Android, iPhone, or iPad. Also under Borgata’s gaming license umbrella is the playMGM online poker platform. In order to compete with its competitor, Caesars, MGM Resorts international launched a self-branded online poker site as well that uses the same advanced browser-based client that Borgata and PartyPoker offer.
Promotion Codes: Party Poker offers many promotional codes found on their website that include doubling your first deposit up to $1,000. They also offer a free $25 just win signing up with no deposit required so that you can try their games online.
Pala Poker: while this is the newest site to enter the New Jersey online poker market, it also may be the most limited for several reasons. Just like Party Poker, Pala Poker has also partnered with Borgata Casino. The big difference is that Pala Poker operates on an independent platform which means that players are not able to interact and play against other players using different providers or platforms. Pala Poker players are limited strictly to playing with other players using the same platform. Pala Poker also does not share a player pool with Borgata in the same way that Party Poker does. With other online poker sites allowing cross-platforms games and others even moving towards interstate online games, Pala Poker could very well have a quick entrance and exit to the New Jersey online poker scene if they do not adapt and diversify their gaming options to players. Pala Poker may have to increase the array of bonuses and promotional codes in order to attract players to their site.
Promotion Codes: Pala Poker offers $25 free dollars and do not require a deposit so that you can try out the games that they have to offer as well as a 100% match on your first deposit up to $500. A unique offer the Pala Poker offers is a chance at a daily $1,000,000 slot machine spin.
Black Friday for Online Poker Sites
On April 15, 2011, the online poker community experienced its own version of “Black Friday.” Rather than offering spectacular shopping deals and bargains, this rendition of “Black Friday” consisted of a 52-page indictment against eleven executives of the online poker community’s biggest sites including Absolute Poker, Full-Tilt Poker, and PokerStars. These sites were charged with bank fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling in violation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) that has been signed into law by President George W. Bush five years prior. Players that tried to login to their online accounts were blocked from playing any money games few hours after announcement of the indictment.
A few months later the indictment went even further as it amended the Black Friday complaint and stated that Full Tilt Poker had committed fraud to its users through an extensive “Ponzi scheme” that led Full Tilt Poker to owing its players about $390 million. The biggest issue with the amount that Full Tilt owed was the fact that it only had $60 million in the bank. It took Full Tilt more than three years to begin refunding money to its players.
Will Another Black Friday Hit the Online Poker Community?
Black Friday was, for lack of better terms, a learning experience and a reminder of how much protection need to be provided for those players using online services. Since 2011, the US has taken many strides in the area of gambling which reaches online poker as well. Heavy regulation will protect these players and remain on the forefront of online gambling as these large poker companies begin entering into the US marketplace. Black Friday may end up being the beginning of new era in online poker rather than end of an otherwise dark place for online gambling in the US.
Q: Is Online Poker legal in my state?
A: Obviously, this would depend on which state it is that you live in or in which state you physically find yourself in at the time that you want to play online poker. While you do not have to be a resident in the state that offers online poker, for many states, you do have to be physically present in that state to play. The only states where online is currently legal are Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey. It is important to keep up with updates regarding changes in the law as legislation and court rulings may open up online poker in many other states.
Q: Are online poker games rigged?
A: Everyone has probably heard once or twice the rhetoric that online gaming is rigged. However, there is no evidence that any poker site rigs their games as the almost-infinite amount of mathematical equations and probabilities may lead to mixed outcomes. A unique aspect about many online poker games is that the house casino is not actually as involved in the game like you would experience in other games such as blackjack, roulette, or three-card poker.
Q: What is the best website to play online poker?
A: This comes down to personal preference. Many players will look at the overall presentation and user interface of the website while others may look at other items such as bonuses, payouts, and perks of being a member or VIP of a certain gaming site. As far as popularity, the three sites with the highest traffic are PokerStars, 888Poker, and Party Poker.
Q: Do I have to play with real money or can I play for free?
A: Almost every online poker site does offer free games. Especially if you are new to poker and online gambling, free tournaments and games are a great way to practice and learn strategy while not risking your own money. Many of the sites will also offer free money to first-time users that will allow you to experience a cash game online.
Q: If I am new to online poker, where is the best play to learn how to play?
A: Some of the online sites do offer instructional videos and learning sessions so that you are able to learn about how the game is dealt, basic strategy concepts, blinds, and other crucial aspects of the game. Once you have learned the basics of poker, you can buy in to cash games or play free games for extra practice before making an investment and deposit to an online poker site.